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Showing posts from November, 2011

Sermon on the Psalms for Thanksgiving Eve, "Giving Thanks with the Psalms"

Sermon Outline1.“O Lord, open my lips; and my mouth will declare your praise” (Ps. 51:15). Remembering to give thanks is sometimes a matter of opening our mouths to give thanks back to God. Forgetful, ungrateful, reluctant, preoccupied. Worship calls us to stop from our busy-ness, and open our mouths to give praise and thanks for God. Open our lips in praise and thanksgiving more often! Acknowledges God is the giver.2.What is a life lived without gratitude (thanksgiving)? Selfishness, discontent, greed, jealousy. Gratitude keeps us from selfishness; recognizes what we have is a gift, not our own. Gratitude makes us open to sharing. Gratitude frees us to be contented; thankful for whatever we have, not expecting more. God provides. Gratitude guards against greed and jealousy; satisfied with what’s my own—happy to help others protect and keep what is theirs. Celebrate what you have been given, also what they have been given! (9th & 10th Commandments). 3.“I will give thanks to the Lo…

Sermon on Isaiah 64:1-9, for the First Sunday in Advent, "The Incomparable God"

Sermon outline:1.Ancient words from 2,700 years ago, still so applicable today. We wish that God would reveal Himself in His strength and power, with awesome miracles as of old. Show His power to His enemies and unbelievers. Recalls the miracles of the Exodus—Mount Sinai quaking at God’s presence, His powerful and fearsome miracles to deliver His people. Awesome things not looked for. Show us again! Today we also wish to see the miracles and power of God. Don’t remain hidden. Silence the mockers and doubters. 2.Isaiah’s time, Israel felt God was silent toward them. Enemies had taken Jerusalem and the Temple, Jews in exile in Babylon. A prayer filled with humility and sadness, recognizing their own guilt having brought judgment on the people and land. Admits they have been in sin a long time. Can they be saved? What firm ground can we stand on to face God when He does come? Our own righteousness? No. Our righteous deeds are like filthy rags. Then how?3.I know there are people around us…

Sermon on Matthew 25:31-46, for the Last Sunday of the Church Year, "Whose Mercy First?"

Sermon Outline1.Concern for Christians—what happens on the day of Judgment? Grace? Good works? How am I saved? How to be one of the sheep? How does Jesus know who are His sheep?2.After Jesus’ separation of blessed from cursed, He evaluates their works. Yes, He will see our works. Particularly here mercy. Did they show mercy or not? Surprise in the parable is that Christ was hidden in the needy neighbor, the hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick or imprisoned. He saw through the eyes of the needy neighbor whether we showed mercy or not. These merciful deeds or good works, are evaluated in the judgment. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matt. 5:7)3.In our preview of the Day of Judgment, God shows mercy to those who were merciful. But whose mercy came first? Did God show mercy in saving the sheep because they had first shown mercy to others? Or did the sheep show mercy to others because God had first showed mercy to them in saving them? Not just word games—but a…

Sermon on Matthew 25:14-30, for the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost, "Let us be found faithful"

1.Jesus’ departure and return. Amazing that Christ makes us stewards of His gifts so that we be found faithful when He returns. Keys to the kingdom of heaven. Speaking the forgiveness of sins that opens heaven to repentant believers. It also locks the gate to those who have no sorrow over their sin, or reject the Savior Jesus. 2.Stewards of our time—not wasteful or lazy, as the unworthy servant. Stewards of our treasure. Money is a gift that God entrusts to us. Put it to good use. NT teaches giving motivated out of thankfulness and joy, not begrudgingly. But should be done and developed as a discipline. Expected to put it to good use. 3.If we take something of worth that God gives to us, and we bury it for no use, then we will be found poor and faithless stewards. But if we put it to use, it will be for the benefit of others. 4.Our talents. Parable about money, but wider application intended. Different gifts, according to our ability. Not for jealousy or rivalry but service of others.…

Sermon on Revelation 7:9-17, for All Saints' Day, "For All the Saints"

Sermon OutlineWe believe that those who have believed in Jesus Christ, have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb of God, are standing together at God’s throne worshipping. Continuing the song of praise they began in this life—salvation belongs to our God and to the Lamb. Alone can save. Distinct beings in heaven—separate classes of angels, four living creatures, and the saints and elders (humans gone to heaven). Contrast to sentimental notion that we become angels when we die. Saints clothed in white—through the tribulation, washed in the blood. They serve God day and night in His temple God shelters the saints: no hunger, thirst, no scorching heat. The Lamb is the Shepherd. Interesting merging of metaphors—the Lamb of God was Jesus as the sacrifice for our sins. But as the Shepherd, He leads and cares for His flock. Psalm 23, guiding them to springs of Living Water. God is wiping away all…